My Morning Cup features the coffee rituals that most of us have. People from all walks of life — from US senators to ballplayers, subway drivers to college professors — have submitted entries that will run most days.
Here, we reached Daniel Myers, the owner of Loyal Nine in Cambridge, by e-mail.
Daniel Myers, 32
Owner/operator of Cambridge restaurant Loyal Nine
Describe your coffee routine. Where do you frequent, what do you like?
My coffee routine spans the length of a day. In the spring to fall, I start with a cortado in the morning. I used to drink loads of milk as a child, so this hits home for me. I enjoy a little milk in my morning espresso, and we use High Lawn here at Loyal Nine. 100 percent grass fed, 100 percent Jersey cow milk … it’s so good, so delicious. You can truly taste the milk itself. Then I’ll move on to a cold brew to labor over for an hour or so. In the winter months, this is replaced with a Chemex as I just love the wafting aromas rising directly from the large cone filter into my face. Typically, we will have a new coffee to taste at some point in the afternoon. We rotate our guest roaster quite frequently so there is always something new to try from a top roaster in the country. At this time, I wave a white flag to ensure I actually sleep at some point!
Make or buy?
I try my best to make just about anything that I can before buying.
If make, what coffee do you use and how do you make it?
The cortado is almost always Unicorn Blood, the espresso blend from Dark Matter Coffee, our house roaster based out of Chicago. It’s a blend of three coffees, including a small portion of Robusta(!). The Robusta adds a pleasant third layer to the espresso, plus an additional kick of caffeine that’s great for a little jump start to your morning. We grind on a Mazzer, which provides great consistency and pull the shot on a La Marzocco Linea MP. The manual paddle allows us to have a high level of control over the variables of pressure and time. This way we can totally dial a shot and tweet as the weather changes (which it does from time to time here in New England). I love pouring the cortado into my wife’s handmade ceramics because each glass is a little different, mixing up the routine every day.
If buy, where? What time? Do baristas know you?
When on the go, I hit up Three Little Figs in Somerville. Joe Smith, one of their baristas, always pulls a perfect shot.
What’s your order?
Cortado and a cold brew.
How do you take it?
Black as black.
Iced or hot?
Iced. Rarely do I drink drip in the summer/fall. I like to reserve the pleasure for the chillier months.
Alone or with company?
Typically I’ll down the cortado rather quickly, then enjoy the iced coffee with my wife!
Where do you drink it? Seated or on the go?
Always on the go, that’s how the restaurant industry feeds the world!
Any simultaneous noncaffeinated stimulation?
I often enjoy my coffee as a singular task. It’s a nice time to slow down, perhaps stroll our patio garden to see what the local bunnies have munched on in the moonlight, but rarely do I read or even listen to music. Coffee provides a nice mental calm to help prepare for the day ahead.
How many more cups the rest of the day?
Three is a standard although it can jump up without notice!
What time will you drink your last cup?
Rarely after 6 p.m.
What’s your stance on decaf?
I’m not a fan, but we do offer it at Loyal Nine. We’re here to provide guests with what they’d like to have, so we rarely ignore feedback and requests as such. I’m less of a fan due to the process of achieving a caffeine-free bean that naturally has caffeine. Effectively, decaffeinating coffee involves processes like removing everything from the bean, isolating and removing the caffeine then returning everything else to the bean. It just doesn’t do it for me.
When and why did you start drinking coffee?
As a kid, part of my routine of doing the dishes at night was to prepare the brewer for my parents in the morning. I started quite young, then ramped up (ridiculously) with the “DD” culture during high school and college. Once I found specialty coffee, I could never return to the lousy coffee of my youth.
Describe the most memorable cup of coffee you’ve ever had.
I drank a natural process Panama from Ipsento roasters in Chicago. Ipsento is a tiny nano-roaster in Chicago that has their roaster directly next to you as you wait in line. Brewed in a V60, it was simply a totally eye-opening cup. I appreciate Single Origin coffees, but I love when you get a cup that just screams at you with unique flavor profiles that make it stand out amongst its peers. You know, a cup that in a lineup of 20 would just jump off the table with its originality and at the same time crush a home run of deliciousness.